Picnic Lightning – Interview

Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (

PD: What type of artist are you?

PL: Raw and brooding desert punk, the sound of summer heat and dimly lit clubs. Dark, post-everything wall of sound howls like a dust storm, delivering a spiritual stomp that dwells in the shadowland of trenchant questions and orphic revelations. You can also find recent photos of our visual style on our instagram @picniclghtnng Our songs deftly touch the inexhaustible complexities of life and do so with sonics as singular as the individual human experience. They croon and holler, stomp and skip, wax thoughtful where vengeance belongs; and vice-versa. It’s the fuel that sets your car aflame or gets you home; the drug that puts you down or brings out the beast. The band’s mantra from day one has been: let no one suffer.


PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.

PL: Picnic Lightning formed in 2013 with Thomas Edmond Ketchersid on vocals, guitar, Cole Alvin Watkins on lead vocals and guitar, John Lenox Cope on bass and vocals and Cameron Joseph Navarro on drums and vocals. Thomas, Cole, & John had played music together since high school and Cameron joined them after hitting it off at a local Oktoberfest party. Their Gilded Youth EP (2014) and eponymous debut album (2016) were enthusiastically received by local press and blogs, earning them nominations for Best Rock Band, Best Rock EP, Best Rock Album in the Fort Worth Weekly Music Awards.


PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

PL: Musically, most directly, it would be Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Ty Segall, The National and Queens of the Stone Age. For us, non-musical would be a variety of art, literature, and film: Rene Magritte, Alex Ross, Francis Bacon, Harold Pinter, Roberto Bolaño, Arthur C Clarke, Rainier Maria Rilke, and David Lynch.


PD: What are your dreams and goals?

PL: As a whole, it is to be the best artists we can. To have an ability to make a living from our art. To do the right things. To leave this world with a small sense of peace that we tried our best.


PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?

PL: We have a collaborative approach to songwriting with some songs starting as a guitar riff, some as a (way too long) jam, one of Thomas’ poems, or even a drumbeat. We try to stay fairly judicious with the songwriting process, trimming as much fat as possible, and not shoehorning individual ideas just because we like them. We’re also open to rewriting songs we’ve played for years. An upcoming single, Nostalgiaholic is a great example of this – we’ve gone through at least 8-10 wildly different versions before finding this current style.


PD: How do you promote your band and shows?

PL: We keep our shows updated on our socials (Facebook, Insta, Twitter) as well as our website. Follow us there for all our updates including shows, music, merch, and general rabble rousing.


PD: What do you think about downloading music online?

PL: None of us are strangers to downloading music online from various outlets throughout our lives. The ease of access allowed each of us to hear music we would otherwise not have been allowed to possess. It also allows for connection, and for a tipping of the power scales to the masses. Supporting musicians, especially smaller artists, is essential to a healthy long-term music industry, but at the end of the day, we really just want people to listen to (our) music and hopefully enjoy it.


PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?

PL: That’s a pretty long list, but Fool in the Photograph by Sunny Day Real Estate stands out. La Verite by Francois & The Atlas Mountains is one of the coolest songs. It’s the music equivalent of effortless style and we dare anyone to not dance while listening to it. Lastly, Celebrity Skin by Hole is rock and roll perfection: rough, poignant, pleasing, subversive. That song makes us so jealous, we can hardly stand hearing it.


PD: What are some of your pet peeves?

PL: Using speakerphone in public. People who don’t meet others halfway. Entitlement and bullies: don’t be a dick.


PD: What is your proudest moment in music?

PL: Not including the obvious highs of high school talent shows without mic stands and passing out in the heat at skate park shows, we’d all agree that listening to the rough cuts of our first EP was an important moment. We were lit, exhausted, and empty in the best ways and the songs sounded just like we hoped they would. That thread has continued, and we’re equally as proud of the sound we were able to capture with these new songs.


PD: So what are you working on at the moment?

PL: We’re currently focused on releasing a few singles, writing new music, and booking upcoming gigs. We have Over My Head coming out on May 6th, Six Feet Under on June 3rd, Pre-Pangea on July 1st, Youth Group on August 6th, and Killer Tofu on September 2nd. You can find all our new music on Spotify and other music platforms, and you can find our shows on our socials and websites. We’ll even have new merch up soon.


PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?

PL: We’ve got our Gilded Youth EP, Self-Titled LP, and upcoming singles available on all streaming services, and for purchase on Bandcamp, iTunes, and Amazon.

Picnic Lightning links:
Band/Artist location – Fort Worth, Texas
Website – Facebook – You Tube – Soundcloud – Bandcamp – Reverbnation –
Twitter – Instagram – Apple – Spotify – Amazon – Deezer – –
Check our page for Picnic Lightning